Over the last couple of months we've been going on and on about actors who turned down superhero or supervillain roles in the MCU and DC Comics movies. Huge names, such as Matthew McConaughey, Johnny Depp, Anthony Hopkins, Leonardo DiCaprio and many more have said no to comic book movies, for one reason or another. Actors such as Rose McGowan and Jon Hamm have even gone on record stating that they have no intention of ever putting on a superhero costume. But just as there are those who are simply not interested in comic book movies, there are also plenty of actors practically begging for a chance at a superhero role.
Whether it's about fulfilling a childhood dream, making money, or checking another genre off their bucket list, a number of actors have come forward offering their services in superhero movies. While some stopped at expressing their interest publicly and auditioning for the role they want, others have taken their efforts a step further. Playing that one superhero role must be very important to these actors, since they decided to literally campaign for it. Sadly though, the hard work and dedication of these 20 actors failed to pay off and they were left hanging.
20 KEANU REEVES
Back in 2005, Keanu Reeves starred in Constantine as the titular anti-hero. However, Reeves wants to be a real costumed superhero. In one interview, the actor admitted he’d be down to play two particular superheroes, one from Marvel and the other from DC Comics. Unfortunately for him, it doesn’t seem like he’ll get to play either.
According to Reeves, the Marvel character he’s always had his eye on is Wolverine, a role that has been played by Hugh Jackman for almost two decades and has become synonymous with the Aussie actor. The DC hero that caught Reeves’ attention is the Caped Crusader. However, given that Reeves lost to Ben Affleck who just started his run as the Dark Knight, it is doubtful that Reeves still has a chance to be Batman.
19 BRYCE DALLAS HOWARD
Captain Marvel is finally joining the MCU and she will be played by the amazing Brie Larson. However, before the role went to Larson, a number of actresses expressed their interest in portraying this iconic comic book character. Starring opposite to Star-Lord in the Jurassic World franchise must have peaked Bryce Dallas Howard’s interest into the MCU and she has admitted that she wouldn’t mind playing Carol Danvers.
When Howard said that she’d like to join the MCU, an interviewer suggested she would be a good fit for Captain Marvel. Howard’s response: "Oh my God, will you write that? Will you write that please? Yes, let’s start a campaign now. That would be rad." Even though she had a role in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3, Howard now wants a real superhero role.
Way before Snyder made his Justice League, Mad Max: Fury Road director George Miller almost made a Justice League movie. The movie was supposed to be titled Justice League: Mortal and had even cast its heroes. Actor and musician known as Common was cast to play John Stewart, aka Green Lantern, in Miller’s movie. Warner Bros. pulled the plug and the movie never got made, however, Common is still hoping to one day become Green Lantern.
Now that John Stewart has been officially announced for DCEU’s upcoming Green Lantern Corps, Common expressed interest in playing the character. In one interview, the rapper/actor stated that playing John Stewart would be a blessing since he feels a very strong connection to the character. However, Common already had a role in DCEU’s Suicide Squad (albeit a cameo) and thus far has not been approached for John Stewart.
17 DONALD GLOVER
Donald Glover has gone after the role of Spider-Man twice. Glover first expressed his interest to portray the webcrawler during the casting of Sony’s first Spider-Man reboot. The actor was interested in the role of Miles Morales and started a campaign, however, the studio went with the Peter Parker version of the character and Andrew Garfield was cast in Webb's The Amazing Spider-Man.
After Marvel and Sony made their deal and Spider-Man was to get yet another reboot, Glover got his second shot at his dream role. Nonetheless, Marvel went with Tom Holland as Peter Parker and Glover was once again out of luck. But the good guys over at Marvel gave Glover somewhat of a consolation prize, casting him as Aaron Davis, Miles Morales’ uncle.
16 RONDA ROUSEY
The tussle over who gets to play Captain Marvel was unprecedented for the MCU. Actresses such as Jessica Chastain, Bryce Dallas Howard, Emily Blunt as well as former UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey expressed interest in playing Carol Danvers in Marvel’s upcoming movie Captain Marvel. The part, as we all know, ended up in the capable hands of Brie Larson, but Ronda Rousey was pretty serious about playing Marvel’s biggest female hero.
Rousey first expressed her interest in 2015, saying that most of her favorite characters were already taken, but that she would love to play Captain Marvel. While Kevin Feige did say she would be an interesting choice, the studio ultimately went with an Oscar winner and we think they made the right call.
15 NATHAN FILLION
Nathan Fillion, the actor who charmed us with his performance in TV shows such as Firefly, Serenity and Castle, has been wanting to play a superhero for a long time. Yet, he never got the chance. The fans have been fan-casting Fillion in a number of Marvel and DC roles, he has voiced Hal Jordan a couple of times and had a brief cameo in Guardians of the Galaxy, however, Fillion has yet to make his dream come true.
So, what is Fillion’s dream role? According to the actor, the role he would be absolutely perfect for is Booster Gold. In one interview, Fillion described the Booster Gold part as his niche -- show-offy, vain and not too bright. We have no doubt Fillion would make an awesome Booster Gold, so if Berlanti or anyone else does make a Booster Gold movie, we hope they have Fillion in mind.
14 JESSICA CHASTAIN
The incredibly talented two-time Oscar nominee Jessica Chastain has met with Marvel on a number of occasions. Reportedly, the actress turned down the role of Maya Hansen in Iron Man 3 due to scheduling conflicts (and good for her on that) as well as the role of Hope van Dyne in Ant-Man because she wanted more action.
Recently, the actress has been rumored to have met with Marvel with regards to the role of Captain Marvel. As we know, the role went to Brie Larson, but Chastain was seriously interested in playing Carol Danvers. In one of her interviews, the actress stated that she’d love to play Captain Marvel. In fact, she’d be down for a superhero movie as long as she’s a fierce hero who gets to fight the bad guys and not some civilian or damsel in distress.
13 TOM HANKS
Tom Hanks needs no introduction. The man is a true legend. The two-time Academy Award winner has done everything from comedy to drama, live action to animated, small screen to big screen, and even a Carley Rae Japsen music video. So, what is the next step for a man of his caliber? Well, according to Hanks, superhero movies.
Four years ago, Hanks admitted that he’d love to be in a superhero movie. However, he doesn’t want to be another guy in a suit. Tom Hanks wants to really get in there and play a role like the Flash or a Batman villain. Since this happened around the time Batman v. Superman was getting off the ground many suspected that Hanks’ might appear in the movie. However, thus far, superhero roles elude him, but we never know.
12 JENSEN ACKLES
The Supernatural star Jensen Ackles certainly seems to have the build for a superhero role. We could easily see him taking on a role in either the MCU or the DCEU. However, the role Ackles saw himself playing has already been taken.
Ackles auditioned to play Captain America, but he lost the part to Chris Evans. That being said, Ackles was offered another role in the MCU. Apparently, Marvel thought he was good, just not Captain America material, and they offered him the part of Hawkeye. You’d think Ackles would jump on the opportunity to join the MCU, but the actor turned them down, citing scheduling conflicts with his TV series. If Captain America is really the only superhero Ackles wants to play, we’d say his chances are pretty much non-existent.
11 MATT BOMER
The role of the Man of Steel has alluded a number of actors over the years. Even Henry Cavill, who is now playing Clark Kent in the DCEU, has once lost the part to Brandon Routh in Superman Returns. However, one actor missed the opportunity to don on the red and blue spandex two times. The star of USA Network’s White Collar, Matt Bomer, is a two-time almost Superman.
Bomer was supposed to play Superman in J.J. Abrams and Brett Ratner’s Superman: Flyby, however, that script was scrapped and once Bryan Singer was brought on board the project evolved into Superman Returns with Routh taking on the role of Supes. Years later, Bomer auditioned for the role of Superman in Snyder’s Man of Steel but lost the part to Henry Cavill.
10 ELIZA DUSHKU
Before Scar-Jo became Natasha Romanoff in Iron Man 2, a number of actresses were rumored to be attached to the role. Emily Blunt was even offered the part, but had to turn it down due to scheduling conflicts. However, one actress wanted the part of Black Widow so badly that she actually launched a campaign way before any of the major roles were cast.
Eliza Dushku, whom you may remember from Joss Whedon’s sci-fi drama series Dollhouse, kicked off her internet campaign for the role of Black Widow during her guest appearance on the Howard Stern Show. "I’m so perfect for the Black Widow character, that they just need to get into it", said Dushuku. The campaign didn’t pan out however and the part went to Scarlett Johansson.
9 CHARLIE SHEEN
Spider-Man has always had a special place in the hearts of teenagers, mostly because Peter Parker himself is a teenager, albeit with superpowers. Spidey has always been a relatable, fun, goofy guy we truly saw as a friend. Apparently, a young Charlie Sheen was also charmed by this comic book character. So much so that he wrote a script for a Spider-Man movie, which he would star in.
The actor went to Orion and pitched the movie, saying that in a couple of years he will be too old to play Spider-Man. According to Sheen, the studio said no, thinking that superhero movies are not the future. As for the rights for his Spider-Man movie, Sheen stated that he had a guy who could get them for him. What do you think, the truth or another one of Sheen's fabrications?
8 TERRY CREWS
The funny muscular dude from those silly Old Spice commercials and the man who got us to sing alone to Vanessa Carlton "Thousand Miles", Terry Crews, has been trying to join the superhero game for quite some time. At first Crews expressed interest in playing the Silver Surfer, stating that he always loved the character and that he has the chops to bring him to the big screen.
So far, there have been two live-action adaptations of the Silver Surfer and Crews didn’t get to play either. After failing to get a superhero movie role, Crews went for TV and expressed interest in playing Luke Cage, a role that ultimately went to Mike Colter. However, given that the Fantastic Four franchise failed once again, there is still hope for Crews to be the Silver Surfer in the second reboot.
7 PATRICK DEMPSEY
Well, we know that the part of Sorcerer Supreme almost went to Joaquin Phoenix, in fact the actor would have been Doctor Strange if he hadn’t pulled out of his negotiations. However, before the Sherlock Holmes star, Benedict Cumberbatch, got the part another television star had his eye on the role. Reportedly, Gray’s Anatomy’s Mr. Dreamy wanted to be MCU’s Stephen Strange.
In one of his interviews, Dempsey said that he thinks he would be perfect for Doctor Strange and that he’s been lobbying for it. According to the actor, a bunch of his colleagues from the set of Grey’s Anatomy are comic book fans and they though Dempsey should do Doctor Strange. Wanting to step out of Mr. Dreamy’s shadow, Dempsey saw the MCU as the perfect way to do that and envisioned himself as Stephen Strange.
6 KELLAN LUTZ
Now that the MCU has turned into the most profitable movie franchise ever, it is no wonder stars are lining up to be in a Marvel movie. However, when the Marvel’s Cinematic Universe was just getting off the ground, actors weren’t yet begging for roles in their movies. However, the Twilight star Kellan Lutz auditioned for two roles in the MCU.
The actor auditioned for both Thor and Captain America, but he lost to a Chris both times. But this did not the stop Lutz from pursing superhero roles. Lutz has gone on record stating that he’d love to play He-Man in the upcoming He-Man and the Masters of the Universe movie. According to the actor, he even met with the movie’s director, McG, at which time he handed him a power sword.
5 BRANDON MOLALE
Now that we know that Chuck star Zachary Levi will be taking on the role of Shazam, all the speculations and fan-castings can finally be put to bed. About a month ago, Zachary Levi posted a fanart image of himself as Shazam saying that he’ll be in the gym for the rest of forever.
The surprise over Levi’s casting as Shazam is mostly based on his lack of muscle. Originally, the fans have envisioned more muscular actors taking on the role of Shazam. In fact, one extremely muscular actor has been campaigning for the role of Shazam for a very long time. In 2007, when Peter Segal and John August were in talks to make a Shazam! movie, Brandon Molale was among the actors rumored for the part of Shazam. When it was announced that the movie is finally being made Molale started a campaign for the role of Shazam.
4 SEAN YOUNG
Tim Burton’s Batman movies starring Michael Keaton are still held in high regard for excellent story-telling, best-looking Batmobile, as well as extraordinary performances by the cast. The Blade Runner star Sean Young wanted so badly to be part of Burton’s Batman, however, the roles just kept slipping through her fingers.
Sean Young was cast in Burton’s first Batman movie as Vicki Vale, however, she was injured while training for a horse riding scene (which was later cut from the movie) and had to drop out. But once Catwoman was announced for Batman Returns, Young started a very aggressive and cringy campaign for the part. Reportedly, the actress made a Catwoman costume and went to Burton’s office proclaiming that "she is the character". Young even appeared on The Joan Rivers Show in costume as part of her campaign. Apparently, her actions scared Burton and the role went to Michelle Pfeiffer.
3 DEREK THELER
Back when the role of Shazam was still up for grabs the TV actor known mostly as Danny Wheeler on the ABC sitcom Baby Daddy, Derek Theler, seemed to have been campaigning for the role of Captain Marvel. A close friend of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson who’s been cast as the movie's antagonist Black Adam, Theler posted a number of pictures on social media alluding that he’d like to take a crack at Shazam.
If his social media activity is to be trusted, Theler even auditioned for the part that ultimately landed in the hands of Zachary Levi. Given that Shazam isn’t a household name such as Wonder Woman and Superman, it is possible that the studio wanted a bigger name for the part in order to draw a larger audience.
2 STEPHEN LANG
After years of holding back, Fox finally decided to give the fans the Deadpool movie they have always wanted. Deadpool became one of the highest grossing superhero flicks and R-rated movies and a sequel was immediately announced. Naturally, given the movie’s success, many actors started expressing their interest to join Deadpool 2.
The most vocal in his campaign was the Avatar actor Stephen Lang. One look at Lang and you’ll know instantly which role he wanted to play. Lang expressed his interest back in February 2016, tweeting a picture of himself with the words: "Let's lay some CABLE. You know I want it. This is pre-training. Thanks for spreading the word." Even though Lang campaigned hard for the part, it went to Josh Brolin. However, it is doubtful Lang could even take on the part considering he’s signed on to appear in three Avatar sequels.
1 TYRESE GIBSON
The star of the long-running Fast and the Furious franchise, Tyrese Gibson, has been actively campaigning for the role of John Stewart in DCEU’s upcoming Green Lantern Corps for about two years. Back in 2015, inspired by Bosslogic’s fan-casting image, Gibson posted fourteen pictures of himself as Green Lantern in just four days. The action star even stated that he’s fully committed to suit up for the role.
Recently, Gibson has decided to revive his Green Lantern campaign and in May this year, posted another image of himself as Green Lantern captioned "It’s time". According to Gibson he did have meetings with Warner Bros., however, no official announcement has been made. Recently, the actor said that he’d be very disappointed if he didn’t get the part.